BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Another of the current 16 Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential election made a stop at Fort Madison’s popular sandwich shop Sub Arena.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) made an hour long stop at the eatery Wednesday afternoon on a swing through southeast Iowa, including stops at Fairfield and Burlington.
Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke made a stop at the shop after meeting with high school students to announce his candidacy for the office in February.
In the current field of 16 Democratic candidates, Gabbard is currently running 10th in cash on hand with $2.8 million, but she’s faring slightly better in a grass roots fundraising with 58% of her cash coming in the form of donations of $200 or less, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Gabbard, who is a Major in the Hawaiian Army National Guard, was first elected to Congress in 2012 and touts her foreign policy experience. She rails against President Donald Trump’s campaign for regime changes in places like Venezuela, saying the country has much better use of our resources.
“I’m the only candidate that’s bringing foreign policy to the forefront of this conversation and as long we continue to spend trillions on regime change wars in this nuclear arms race era, we will not have the resources we need to keep American people safe, and to invest in serving the needs of our people in communities like Fort Madison,” she said after addressing about 30 people at the sandwich shop.
She said countries like Saudi Arabia are spending billions of dollars spreading extreme forms of Islam around the world, and President Trump is putting those agendas ahead of American priorities.
“It is both heartbreaking and angering to see how this president is more interested in putting the interests of Saudi Arabia ahead of the interests of the American people,” Gabbard said.
She said health care has to move toward Medicare for all so that everyone can gain access to basic quality levels of care, regardless of how much money you make.
She said private health care would still have a role in her health care picture.
“We’ve got a private insurance market. Those who choose to get that private insurance can do so, but it’s important for us in this country to make sure that we are providing that care for everyone,” she said.
“How can we not do this and be financially responsible? Look at every major country around the world that insures health care for every one of their citizens. It’s wrong that in this country where we spend far more for health care than any other country, yet we still have worse outcomes and far too many people that cannot get the care they need.”
The 16-year military veteran said issues facing Iowa are the same issues that are facing the rest of the country such as a lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and agriculture pressures. She said the programs and decision at the federal level need to help address those concerns.
“The issues that we’re talking about are issues that are bringing Iowans out,” said the 38-year-old native of American Samoa.
“Yes, were talking about lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care, high unemployment rates, agriculture and how many farmers are struggling – as well as the negative impacts some of these farms have on our environment – threats to water…to air.”
She said at the federal level lawmakers have to look at different policies and how to look at best serving the interests of people. Right now, we see on every level people are being left behind. People in Iowa are being left behind. In every state in the country people are being left behind. So that’s at the heart of what needs to change.”